Police report thefts in recreation center, graffiti on faculty housing, illegal parking

Alan Butterworth

Police officers cited eight people for allegedly misusing handicap permits to park in disability spaces this week, according to police reports.

Police cited a woman who used her partner’s disability permit to park for free at a meter. When questioned, she said she used the permit because of agonizing pain in her foot. The officer observed the woman walking, but she did not limp or exhibit any signs of pain one would expect from agonizing pain.

In another case, a staff member allegedly used his 79-year-old grandmother’s permit without her knowledge to park for free while attending meetings.

In two other cases, people were accused of using their deceased mothers’ handicap permits to park illegally.

One of the people initially said the permit belonged to her but did not make this claim after police informed her the permit belonged to her deceased mother, according to police reports.

“There’s no excuse for that,” said Steve Johnson, deputy police chief for the University Police Department.

“It’s criminal. They’re trying to rip people off.”

Johnson said illegal use of a handicap permit needs investigation. He said the officer calls the permit owner to find out where they are and what they are doing.

“It’s a pretty involved investigation.” Johnson said.

It is a misdemeanor to use another person’s disability parking permit, and violators are fined $780 by Hennepin County.

Johnson said University police issue approximately 100 citations for the misuse of handicap parking permits every year.

Damage to property

Police are investigating who tagged the exterior of Pillsbury Court faculty housing with graffiti, according to police reports.

Coordinator for Housing Properties Fred Frogner said the damage was extensive. He said this was the first time this has occurred at a housing facility.

“It’s regrettable that something like that will happen,” he said. “We will work with the University police to see what can be done to avert it in the future.”

The same graffiti tag was also found on the walls of the Theta Tau fraternity and the Evans’ Scholars houses.

Theft from gym

Thieves stole a student’s backpack from the sidelines while he played basketball at the University recreation center.

In a similar incident, thieves stole a pair of jeans with a student’s wallet at the same location.

Johnson advised students not leave their valuables unattended on the side of the court while they play sports.